Photo by Pixabay/maxmann
How-Tow Make Travel Trouble-Free
To make hauling easier on your donkeys (and yourself), here are some things to consider before you hit the road:
- Avoid hauling sick donkeys, injured donkeys, and late-gestation jennies; start out with sound, healthy animals and do your best to keep them that way.
- Since equines are social creatures and a solitary donkey is a stressed one, take along a companion if you can.
- Map the route in advance. Braking and cornering cause many in-transit accidents; crossing bumps and accelerating cause even more. Stop-and-start movement can drive the heart rate of an inexperienced traveler up to twice his norm. If the most direct route means dealing with rush-hour traffic or possibly hitting the red light at scores of stoplights, taking a longer but easier route is always a wiser choice.
- Factor rest stops into longer journeys. Locate points along the route where you can safely offload your donkeys at least once every 24 hours. Offer familiar feed, water them, and carefully check each animal for signs of injury and excessive stress.
- Pack along a well-appointed first-aid kit. To reduce the possibility of digestion-related catastrophes, include enough tubes of probiotic and electrolyte paste to dose each donkey at least once a day.
- Load reluctant or frightened donkeys with compassion and care. Allow enough time to do the job without rushing. If loading at night, provide plenty of interior lighting, as equines move more easily from darkness into light than the other way around.
- When hauling smaller donkeys in an unpartitioned stock trailer, consider hauling them loose instead of tied. For short jaunts, each donkey should be allotted enough room to stand without constantly slamming into the rest of the load; on longer hauls, give them enough space to lie down comfortably.
- Whenever possible, though, fit stock trailers with interior dividers so that you can partition animals into compatible groupings based on sex, size, age, and/or aggressiveness.
- Whatever sort of conveyance you choose, cut down on vibration by using lots of bedding, and reduce noise levels by padding gates and partitions with pieces of rubber matting or old blankets.
- Allow enough time to drive carefully. Accelerate slowly and smoothly, and do your best to stop that way as well. Ease up on the gas well ahead of turns, and don’t take corners too abruptly. Factor in load checks, too; stop 20 minutes after departure to check your load and at least once an hour after that.
Cover Courtesy of Storey Publishing
Excerpted from The Donkey Companion © Sue Weaver, illustrations by © Elayne Sears, used with permission from Storey Publishing.